RSCP Learning and Development Strategy 2020 - 2022

Rotherham Safeguarding Children Partnership Learning and Development Strategy 2020-22

learning practice doing coaching diagram


September 2020 – V1



Rotherham Safeguarding Children Partnership Learning and Development Strategy 2020 - 2022


The purpose of this document is to provide a framework to support a blended safeguarding learning and development offer across the Rotherham Safeguarding Children Partnership (RSCP), so those who work with children, young people carers and families (including managers, practitioners and volunteers), are appropriately skilled, competent and confident in carrying out their responsibilities with regard to safeguarding children.


Key Partners and Relevant Agencies


 Final Draft








Rotherham Safeguarding Children Partnership (RSCP)


Rotherham Safeguarding Children Partnership (RSCP)

Main Changes from previous versions

1st Strategy 

Ratified by

    L&I   Delivery Group



L&I Delivery Group 



Approved by

RSCP Executive Group


Groups Consulted

Partners via L&I Delivery Group






Distribution list

L&I Delivery Group 


Intranet              Internet                Other  ◻   


1. Introduction

The Rotherham Safeguarding Children Partnership (RSCP) Learning and Development Strategy (referred to as L&D Strategy throughout this document) is intended to add value rather than replace workforce strategies in partner organisations. It provides structure and support for RSCP as partners continue to develop the learning cultures within their organisations

The RSCP is committed to supporting a range of multi-agency learning opportunities to practitioners working within Rotherham. Details of the blended learning offered by the RSCP can be found in the Multi-Agency Learning Prospectus.  This strategy acknowledges a wide range of learning is offered by agencies across the Partnership and will, where possible seek to support and enhance this.

Rotherham Statutory Safeguarding Key Partners consisting of NHS Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) and South Yorkshire Police (SYP) are jointly responsible for the safeguarding arrangements in Rotherham and together they recognise the significance of a co-ordinated approach in which the overriding principle is that ‘safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility’. The importance of safeguarding across the wider partnership is recognised and therefore many voluntary and statutory organisations (relevant partners) will be consulted and active partners of this strategy.

In line with its core values all safeguarding learning should:

  • Place the child at its centre and promote the importance of understanding the child’s daily life experiences, ascertaining their wishes and feelings, listening to the child and never losing sight of his or her needs.

  • Create and support an ethos that values working collaboratively with others (valuing different roles, knowledge and skills), 

  • Respect diversity (including culture, race, religion and disability)

  • Promote equality and encourage the participation of children and families in the safeguarding processes.


2. Aim 

The aim of this L&D Strategy is to provide a framework to support the safeguarding offer across Rotherham, so those who work with children, young people, carers and families (including managers, practitioners and volunteers) are appropriately skilled, competent and confident in carrying out their responsibilities in regard to safeguarding children.  

Overseen by the RSCP Learning and Improvement Delivery Group, the L&D Strategy comprises of a number of supporting documents which make up the strategy as a whole.  All documents can be found on the RSCP website:


3. Methodology

This strategy is rooted in The Adult Learning Theory (2018 update, Knowles M, 1968) that purports all mature learners have unique learning needs and traits that should influence blended models of learning and development.  Knowles cites, 

  • Adult learners have a well-established sense of self and this affects our decisions and actions;

  • Past experiences play a pivotal role in adult learning – we must skilfully integrate adult learning into our lived experiences and for it to be become an active part of our thought processes;

  • Adult learning is purpose driven – we learn because we see the relevance;

  • Adult learning relies on a readiness to learn – we see the value of learning and see the bigger picture;

  • Adult learners are driven by internal motivation;

  • Mistakes are often the most valuable teacher – as a result we are less likely to make those mistakes again and develop our experiential knowledge;

  • Adult learners must play an active role in the learning offer, so they are empowered and motivated to participate and learn. 

This strategy also subscribes to the 70:20:10 model of learning (McCall et al 1987).  It holds to the following methodical approach of adult learning: 

70:20:10 model of learning and development


The model is obtained to three sources:

  • Job-related experiences (70%)

  • Interactions with others (20%)

  • Formal learning events (10%)

This approach goes against the typical ‘learning events’ to development (10%) which is often classroom based and entirely separated from work, and adopts where learning and working are ongoing and integrated (70%). This model therefore emphasises the importance of practical learning and job-related experiences when planning individual development in a professional sphere and therefore this ‘on-the-job’ experience is something which partners are regularly exposed to. 

This strategy further acknowledges the Rotherham Family Approach that utilises Signs of Safety, Restorative Approaches and Social Pedagogy as its model to work with and support Children and Young People and their families.  These strength-based models are widely adopted by the Partnership and are ‘our way of being’ – its our framework to best practice.

This strategy also seeks to promote compliance with the requirements set out in Working Together 2018  which sets out that:

Multi-agency training will be important in supporting this collective understanding of local need. Practitioners working in both universal services and specialist services have a responsibility to identify the symptoms and triggers of abuse and neglect, to share that information and provide children with the help they need. To be effective, practitioners need to continue to develop their knowledge and skills in this area and be aware of the new and emerging threats, including online abuse, grooming, sexual exploitation and radicalisation. To enable this, the three safeguarding partners should consider what training is needed locally and how they will monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of any training they commission. (Chapter 1, Para 5, Page 12)

This requires the partnership to consider: 

  • Single agency learning and development - which is carried out by a particular organisation for its own staff; and 

  • Multi-agency learning and development - which is for employees and volunteers of different organisations who either work together or come together for learning and development;

  • Training needs analysis of multi-agency learning and development as well as monitoring and evaluation of relevant learning and development;

  • The need for employers and practitioners to have regular reviews of their own practice to ensure they have knowledge, skills and expertise that improve over time.

The Rotherham Multi-Agency Workforce Safeguarding Competency Framework is developed from ‘Safeguarding

Children & Young People; Roles and Competencies For Health Care Staff ‘INTERCOLLEGIATE DOCUMENT’ Fourth edition, January 2019.  The framework sets out the varied levels of competence, the timescales and type of learning required by different groups of volunteers/employees. 

The RSCP are responsible for quality assuring multi-agency training. This will be achieved through the Learning and Improvement Delivery Group. Single agency training organisations are scrutinised via the Section 11 Safeguarding Self-Assessment (S175 for Education).  In addition, this Delivery Group will publish an annual Multi-Agency Learning Prospectus, based on the priorities identified within the RSCP Business Plan and through local audit and local and national practice reviews

As with all strategies, this is a dynamic and flexible working document, which is influenced by the changes to legislation, and emerging local and national priorities. It will be refined and re-focused as a result of ongoing processes of monitoring and evaluation on an annual basis.


4. Rotherham Multi Agency Workforce Safeguarding Competency Framework and Training Levels  

Whilst agencies need to be responsible for their own core learning and development arrangements, it is vital that there is shared responsibility, shared ownership and a collegiate approach to understanding the importance of multi-agency working and how this can impact on children and families. The Rotherham Multi-Agency Workforce Safeguarding Competency Framework  outlines a key set of competencies that are aligned to specific types of roles, dependent on responsibilities and type of service being provided to children and their families.  

The competency framework has been developed across multi-agency partners and the competencies are ordered in relation to the levels and complexity of practitioner engagement.  The framework identifies five levels of roles and responsibilities and sets out what is the minimum learning is most appropriate for each level. The framework has been developed from ‘Safeguarding Children and Young People; Roles and Competencies for Health Care Staff INTERCOLLEGIATE DOCUMENT’ Fourth edition: January 2019.   

This framework is also available on the RSCP website to assist individuals in deciding which course is best suited to their role and level.  


5. Single Agency Safeguarding Learning and Development 

Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018), states:

“Employers are responsible for ensuring that their staff are competent to carry out their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and creating an environment where staff feel able to raise concerns and feel supported in their safeguarding role”. (Chapter 2, Para 3, Page 56)

It is the responsibility of employers to recognise that in order for staff to fulfil their duties in line with Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018), they will have different learning needs which are dependent on their degree of contact with children and young people and/or with adults who are parents or carers, their level of responsibility and independence of decision-making.

The RSCP does not provide single agency training specialised for particular agency roles.  This learning is only provided by the agency to whom the practitioner is employed by.  It is recommended that safeguarding multiagency learning and development should not be used to replace single agency learning; but to complement

Those wishing to access multi-agency training should check with their own organisations first. 

The RSCP requires single agencies to be responsible for providing learning and development opportunities for staff at all relevant competency levels.  The Partnership offers face to face multi-agency training from competency levels 3, 4 & 5 and does not provide any face to face training at levels 1 & 2, however,  e-learning modules are available to staff at all  levels, which are accessible via the RSCP website. 

Practitioners within all agencies and settings also have the following responsibilities: 

  • To maintain and improve their professional knowledge and competence

  • To identify their own learning and development needs

  • To access the training provided

  • To keep a record of training attended.


6. Multi-Agency Safeguarding Learning and Development Programme

Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 states that:   

“Learning is promoted and embedded in a way that local services for children and families can become more reflective and implement changes to practice” 

Research has shown that multi-agency learning and development is highly effective in helping professionals understand their respective roles and responsibilities, the procedures of each agency involved in safeguarding children1.  Also, the opportunity to learn together is greatly valued; participants report increased confidence in working with colleagues from other agencies and greater mutual respect.  RSCP have the responsibility for delivering a rolling multi-agency programme of safeguarding training and events.  There is a multi-agency learning prospectus and website links, for professionals to enrol onto advertised safeguarding events. 

The Learning and Improvement Delivery Group annually approve the forward plan of multi-agency learning.  The content of the programme is based on local need and national priorities, these include –

  • Learning from Children Safeguarding Practice Reviews and Multi-Agency Reviews 

  • Safeguarding training gaps and needs identified from partnership agencies

  • Safeguarding Partnership priorities linked to Rotherham Safeguarding Children Partnerships Business Priorities

  • Safeguarding Partnership audit activities, Section 11 Self-Assessment Tool (Children Act 2004; Section 175 Self-Assessment Tool). 

  • Information sharing and embedding new local safeguarding priorities 

  • Research, theories, publications and Government reviews

  • Emerging safeguarding themes and issues 


7. COVID-19 Impact

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all multi-agency face to face safeguarding sessions run by the RSCP were halted in March 2020 in line with Government guidance. Learning and development resources and sessions have therefore moved to e-learning, virtual classroom courses or webinars. This provides a comprehensive online training catalogue designed to support practitioners across the workforce with safeguarding children learning and development that includes access to over 30 e-learning courses, virtual classroom courses or webinars including safeguarding awareness and a variety of subjects for children in particular circumstances. 

E-learning is conducted via electronic media, typically on the internet or via apps and is self-directed learning. Webinars and virtual classroom courses are led by a real tutor and are run in real time. Via this medium, delegates can still ask questions and interact with the facilitator and the other attendees, thus learning and best practice remains shared. The platform allows for workshops, exercises, polls, videos, audio, documents, tutor webcam and games to be shared with the delegates making the experience immersive and interactive and experiential. These current arrangements will be reviewed by the Learning and Improvement Delivery Group in compliance with further Government guidelines as further information arises.


8. E-Learning 

The RSCP offer e-learning modules aimed at staff at competency levels 1 & 2 but can act as awareness raising or refresher training to all staff at all competency levels.   The e-learning offer is a suite of e-learning packages that include a brief description of the content of each course. Instructions on how to register can be found on the RSCP website. 


9. Additional Learning and Development Resources  

The RSCP provide a variety of resources to support professional development and professional practice: 

  • Leaflets, resources, newsletter, RSCP website

  • Publications

  • Briefings via newsletter

  • Seven minute briefings on a range of subjects for children in particular circumstances

  • Facilitator packs e.g. notes, slides, exercises, support materials, for specific areas of safeguarding practice 

  • Safeguarding Awareness Week (SAW) 


10. Evaluation and Quality Assurance of Multi Agency Training 

The RSCP has a responsibility to ensure that the safeguarding offer is of a consistently high standard. Short and long term evaluation is a key part of the learning process. Evaluating learning interventions demonstrates their effectiveness in strengthening multi-agency safeguarding practices and contributes to providing assurances about the competency of the workforce. Evaluating the impact that learning and staff development can have on outcomes for children and families is also an important objective. 

This evaluation is informed by Kolb’s Cycle of Learning and Reflective Practice[1], which is a theory which argues we learn from our experiences of life and considers the influence of learning styles.  The cycle consists of four stages which are illustrated in the simplified diagram below, where reflection is seen as an important part of the learning process and in improving practice.


Kolb's Cycle of Reflective Practice



The quality assurance methods outlined below are reflective of this model and used to evaluate all multi-agency safeguarding training provided by the Partnership to measure the impact on professional safeguarding practice. 


Short Term Evaluation  

  • On-line evaluation forms are used after the session is completed and, on completion, the practitioners are sent a certificate of attendance as evidence to support their professional development. 

  • Evaluation forms are regularly reviewed, and responses analysed to enable changes where necessary to be made to the learning and development offer.  This information is used alongside attendance 

  • figures information to build a fuller picture of the value of the offer both to individual practitioners and the wider workforce.   

Long Term Evaluation 

  • Dip sample impact evaluation is undertaken, by attendees, approximately six weeks after the session. 

  • Quarterly Reports collating quantitative data such as attendance figures, agency  take up of sessions, identification of concerns, gaps in agencies not taking up the offer; and qualitative data such as delegates views and feedback about the sessions and learning are reported via the Performance Assessment Framework  to the Performance and Quality Assurance Delivery group and fed into future learning needs analysis.   

  • All sessions are updated in line with any local policies and procedures and Governmental and legal changes 


11. Annual Review of Learning and Development 

The Learning and Development offer will be reviewed annually by the Learning and Improvement Delivery Group and a brief report is submitted by any external facilitators to the Delivery Group.  The Delivery Group ensures the quality and consistency of multi-agency learning through a review that takes into consideration the following:   

  • Content is up to date

  • Continues to meet local need 

  • Delegate evaluations from learning sessions held during the year

  • Local and national research, legislation and guidance, along with issues arising from Safeguarding Practice Reviews and Rapid Responses as appropriate

  • Fit for purpose

  • Value for Money

  • Ultimately leads to improvements in outcomes for children and young people


12. Quality Assurance of Single Agency Safeguarding Children Courses 

All single agency safeguarding children learning offers developed by organisations should meet the required standards.  Individual agencies are responsible for ensuring their offer meets this.  In order for the RSCP to be assured that agencies meet their responsibilities in relation to safeguarding children they may request data from partner agencies in order to monitor this, quarterly through the Performance Assessment Framework.   

There is an expectation across all partners that attendance and non-attendance will be collated by agencies and reported upon to provide assurance regarding staff safeguarding competence.   


13. Governance and Reporting

RSCP Learning & Improvement Delivery Group is the multi-agency forum where the learning and staff development offer will be planned, executed and reviewed. The Delivery Group will report on a quarterly basis to the RSCP Executive Group.


14. Charging Policy and Income Generation Strategy

At the present time, all multi-agency training is free at point of access. The RSCP decided earlier in 2020 to develop a charging policy or income generation strategy to enhance and sustain the delivery of multi-agency learning and development opportunities. However, this has not yet been progressed due to changes in training delivery linked to COVID-19 and will be taken forward and explored further by the L&I Delivery Group.

people sat at a desk with books



References and Bibliography

WHITEPAPER: 70:20:10 INTO action, Authors: Jos Arets, Charles Jennings, Vivian Heijnen Co-Founders 70:20:10 institute

Safeguarding Children and Young People: Roles and Competencies for Healthcare Staff  

Intercollegiate Doc. 4th Edition 2019.  Safeguarding Children and Young People: Roles and Competences for Healthcare Staff.  

Working Together to Safeguard Children (HM Government 2018)  

Rotherham Safeguarding Children Partnerships Business Priorities 2019-2021

RSCP (Learning and Improvement Framework)

The Rotherham Multi-Agency Workforce Safeguarding Competency Framework  

Multi-Agency Learning Prospectus (Learning offer)

Knowles M. The Adult Learning Theory-Andragogy. (1968-2018 update)

Kolb D. Cycle of Reflective Practice (1986) updated 2017 (McLeod S.)

McCall M, Lombardo M, Eichinger R. Approaches to Personal Development Planning (1987).